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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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means anything the greatest act of co-operation we could ask for would
be for Russian co-operation in that war. It would save thousands of British
lives and misery in thousands of homes, and we ought to watch that no words
of ours will discourage the Russians in that matter. If our first interest is
to conclude this war, the second is to see that another war does not hajppen,
and to make sure that the territorial agreements we come to are honoured
in future.
. . . Sympathy with Poland extends far beyond those who happen to call
themselves friends of Poland, or even members of the Scottish Catholic
Hierarchy. Sympathy with that country is based on the recognition of one
gallant people for another. We have both made sacrifices in this war;
we have common interests. I believe the settlement we have reached
with regard to Poland is the best settlement we could have got. It is worth
while remembering that in statesmanship and politics what counts is not
the art of getting what is _ best, but the art of getting what is possible, I
concede at once—and this may be embarrassing for the Government—
that I do not regard the Polish settlement as an act of justice. It may be
right or wrong, it may be wise or foolish, but at any rate it is not justice as
I understand the term. It is not the sort of situation in which you get two
parties to a dispute putting their case forward in front of a disinterested
body and in which the strength and power of one of the parties is never
allowed to weigh in the balance. The sooner we recognise that we are a long
way from that sort of thing happening the better.
The Government had two choices only. They could have postponed
this issue. . . . They could have said, " No, we want this submitted to
arbitration. We cannot do anything without the consent of the London
Polish Government." No one knows what would happen in those circum-
stances, but one can safely say that it is unlikely that there would in any
circumstances be a free;, independent and democratic Poland, The Red
Army is in occupation of that country and the Lublin Committee is in control.
The policy which was -advocated by the hon. and gallant Member for
Berwick and Haddington and others to-day is a policy of inactivity and no
more. The Poles could get nothing from it. ...
The second course that they could adopt was to make the best settlement
they could and impose it deliberately on the Poles. They have done that.
They have bargained the Eastern frontier for the chance of a free Government
of Poland within the new frontier. I could not quite follow my hon. Friend
the member for Penryn and Falmouth when he criticised the appointment
of a provisional Government by the Council of the three Ambassadors.
It seems to me that some provisional Government is essential. Europe is
not in a situation where it can hold free democratic elections. Europe is on
the brink of revolution. You will have to have some provisional Government
in order to attain the very points outlined by my hon. and gallant Friend the
Member for Epsorn (Sir A. Southby). It seems to me that our policy in
the past was mistaken. Up to date what we have done is this. We have
encouraged the London Polish Government to negotiate, and have criticised
them because they did not negotiate very well. We have told them they must
make concessions, and then we have blamed them because they did not make
concessions. I do not regard that as a sensible or an honourable course.
I do not believe you can ask a Pole to decide to hand over a half of his country,
I do not think it is a fair thing to ask any Pole to do. If they agree to do that,
they would divide Poland for a generation, perhaps for all time, into those
who thought they were patriots and those who thought they were traitors.
That is to perpetuate civil war. Nor could you ask the Poles as an act of
policy to take a large slice of their powerful neighbouring State. It is a